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Permafrost geomorphology came of age in 1965–2000, evolving from a field-based subdiscipline largely based on qualitative observation to one of detailed process measurement, field experimentation, and analytical modelling. In this, the development of permafrost geomorphology exemplified the change in geomorphology as a whole. Fundamental advances were made in understanding the development of ice wedges and ice-wedge polygons and the genesis and growth of closed-system pingos, especially by J. Ross Mackay working in the continuous permafrost terrain of the western Canadian Arctic coastlands. Mackay also investigated moisture movement in relation to the ground thermal regime, which led to seminal insights regarding ground freezing, frost heave, near-surface ground ice development, and hummocky micro-relief. Others used these ideas to examine frost shattering of rocks and the development of sorted circles, as most well known from Svalbard. In the second half of the period, measurements of permafrost creep and deformation of hillslopes and rock glaciers were presented, complementing antecedent measurements of solifluction in the active layer. Significant investigations of thermokarst development foreshadowed the preoccupation with permafrost thaw that now gathers so much attention.

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